Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Water You Know

I was in the shower this morning wondering what to blog about. Then it hit me (rather, I hit it; more on that later). I have a little confession to make, une petite confession (no, not la petite mort -- that's something entirely different but just as liberating). This is something I haven't even told my therapist.

Um, sometimes, maybe, I, sort of, allow myself to pee in the shower.

There, I feel better already. I got that off my chest (you're right; literally speaking, that function is performed a few feet south of my chest).

Okay, so it's probably a GDT (Gender Differentiator Thing).

But you don't expect me to get out of the shower, perform the deed, and hop back in, do you?

I think it has something to do with the warm water.

Do I hit the drain? Does it matter? (I do keep the water running to keep things filtered and flushed and purified.)

So, Marcel Proust was right. Anything can be made into "literature," not that The Laughorist claims such lofty status despite his use of the hifalutin third person singular.

But Proust undoubtedly took baths, not showers.

This is where I loudly proclaim, "No further comment."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Through The Looking-Glass

As she was snipping my hair, I looked into the large mirror in front of me. Who is that man, I thought. (Fortunately for her, as well as for me, I did not translate this existential query into audible words in English, or any other language. Imagine how troubling that would be to my hirsute administrator -- and add to that all the sharp implements in her hand or nearby [editorial break-in: note how I did not say "close proximity." I typically edit out the "close," figuring it is moronic to assume a distant proximity, but that's the editor in me. Most style books would support me on this, though some would say it is a bit pedantic. Where were we?]

Who is that man staring back at me?

He looks exceedingly sad or tired at the end of a day, or a life. I want to tell him, it's not all that bad. Cheer up. It's just a feckin haircut.

I was incapable of describing to her how to cut my hair. A number one? Yes, in the back especially. Tight along the sides. Especially short in back. I breezily added, "I used to tell Don, 'Make it a Princeton,' but would end up telling him to make it shorter. So make it short. You can't go wrong."

Don, my regular hirsute administrator cum therapist, had gone home early, his partner, Bob, said when I walked in (Bob must've seen the look of fear and dread on my face). Don's been in the hospital twice recently. He is twelve years older than I am, to the day. December 18 [a craven wish to have legions of readers note this for future reference].

I had my glasses off but the image staring back at me in the mirror still unsettled me. This is a person who needs serious therapy! (But wait, he's already in therapy...has been for years....[I cannot stand it when people refer to themselves in the third person!].

I tried a smile. The Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says smiling is mindful happiness, or something like that.

This forced smile gave the impression of constipation.

How's that? she said.

A little shorter. She used a number two on the sides and a number four on top. She didn't use the scissors at all. Don does.

I raised my unibrow. I try to do that if for no other reason than to ease the deep furrows in my forehead. The raised unibrow scarcely ever seems to last more than 15 seconds. I need to meditate more (more? what a liar!).

I now looked like an optimistic assassin.

Maybe the furrow and the frown and the somber look are me.

How's that? Feel the back of your head.

That's fine, I lied. I just wanted it over with. I was hungry.

I walked to the car, rubbing my hair.

In the car, I looked in the rear-view mirror.

I hate this feckin haircut.

As I walked in the grocery store-eatery-rich person's hangout, I tried to jauntily raise my eyebrows, casually smile, not frown.

For about sixteen seconds.

And the sandwich sucked.

(The chips and iced tea were fine.)

That was yesterday. And as Chad and Jeremy sang in The Sixties, "But yesterday's gone."

When I alluded to this in the vaguest of terms tonight (of course, I had to point out that I even had a haircut; days go by before I notice my wife's had a haircut [URGENT BULLETIN: I just remembered. It says on the calendar that she was supposed to get a haircut this morning, and my daughter announced earlier she had a trim. I'm screwed once again by a fatal attack of acute solipsism and better sleep now in the spare room, with my subliminal frowns and all], my nine-year-old daughter assured me sweetly that I was young, or words to that effect, and my wife said I was...was [pause for dramatic impact] "young at heart."

Not bad, dear. Sort of reminds me of what folks say at a wake: "Gosh, he looks so young!"

Maybe that's why I'm opting for cremation.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Through A Glass Lightly



Tension Envelopes. See? There it is. Or they they are, to be more grammatically correct.

Oh, don't be so smug.

We're all in some kind of envelope of tension.

At least sometime.

It's just a question of sealing the envelope

or shredding it

or tossing it to the wind

or simply holding it up

to the light

to see what's in there

and nodding, yes, that's all it was, yes.

Laugh.Or....
Else.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ones for the Road

These are great. They are humorous, invented highway signs. None of my submitted creations saw ink, cyber- or otherwise. To be honest, I don't remember in the slightest if mine were funny or not.

But these are.

Enjoy.

They are from The Washington Post's humor contest:

The Style Invitational.

Report From Week 672

In which we asked you to compose overhead highway signs, of no more than three lines, 20 characters per line, that we could "write" on the electric sign on Atom.smasher.org (the winner is depicted here). Too frequently submitted for individual ink: "This Highway Paved With Good Intentions." "This Sign Intentionally Left Blank" and "If You Lived Under This Bridge, You'd Be Homeless."

4

ENTERING NYC
INCREASE
SPEAKING SPEED
(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

3

REPORT
PHONE-USING DRIVERS
CALL 202-555-3147
(Mike Connaghan, Alexandria)

2 The winner of "The Worst Picture Ever Painted":

HONK IF YOU'RE
AN IMPATIENT MORON
(Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

And the Winner of the Inker:

NOW ENTERING
THE WILSON BRIDGE
SCENIC REST AREA
(Lisa Younce, Key West)

And a Few More for the Road

REST STOP CLOSED
CROSS LEGS
NEXT 23 MILES
(Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

SHOW US
YOUR HEADLIGHTS!
(Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

IF YOU LIVED
IN YOUR CAR YOU'D
BE HOME BY NOW
(Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

HAVE YOU
BELTED YOUR KIDS?
(Bird Waring, New York)

WHATEVER YOU DO
DO NOT LOOK IN
YOUR REARVIEW MIRROR
(Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station)

BRAKE! BRAKE!
NEVER MIND.
MY BAD.
(Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

END ROAD WORK
I MEAN IT.
END IT NOW!
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

DO THIS
DON'T DO THAT --
CAN'T YOU READ?
(Stephen Litterst, Ithaca, N.Y.; Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

BRINKS TRUCK
SPILL AHEAD
EXPECT DELAYS
(Barbara Turner, Takoma Park)

DETOUR AHEAD:
HARBOR TUNNEL
UNDER WATER
(Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

NON-TEXT PORTIONS
OF THIS MESSAGE
HAVE BEEN REMOVED
(Jay Shuck)

TUNE RADIO TO AM
FOR POOR
SOUND QUALITY
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

KEEP KICKING YOUR
BROTHER -- DAD CANT
TURN THE CAR AROUND
(Jonathan L. Kang, Washington)

HITTING STATE
INSECT: $200 FINE
(Michael G. Peck, Alexandria)

PUT DOWN THE PHONE
NOW AND NO ONE
WILL GET HURT
(Melissa Yorks, Gaithersburg)

3 CAR CRASH AHEAD
1 IS FLIPPED
BEST VIEW LEFT LANE
(Michael Platt, Germantown)

WASHINGTON 1
NEW YORK 229
WP: GLAVINE LP: ORTIZ
(Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

2 RDS DIVERGE,
SORRY YOU
CANNOT TRAVEL BOTH
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

HEY YOU IN THE H2
PULL OVER SO WE
ALL CAN SMACK YOU
(Michael Doughten, Arlington)

ALL LANES
EXACT CHANGE
TOLL 1.95
(David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

HONK IF YOU'RE IN
AN UNMARKED CAR
(Lisa Younce, Key West, Fla.)

YOU IN THE PORSCHE!
YOU GONNA LET THAT
PRIUS PASS YOU?
(Art Grinath)

I'M JUST DOING THIS
TILL I GET A GIG AS
A BROADWAY MARQUEE
(Brendan Beary)

IN CASE OF RAPTURE
HELP YOURSELF TO
UNATTENDED VEHICLES
(Alexander D. Mitchell IV, Baltimore)

ORDER 8X10S NOW
OF YOUR TRAFFIC
VIOLATION PHOTO
(Kevin Dopart)

ROCK 1 MI
FOREIGN POLICY 2 MI
HARD PLACE 3 MI
(Russell Beland)

DAYS SINCE LAST
SIGN-FALLING
ACCIDENT: 02
(Mike Connaghan)

EXITING DC
KEEP FAR RIGHT
NEXT 2500 MI
(Kevin Dopart)

RIGHT LANE ENDS
500 INCHES
(Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

SLOW TO 45 MPH
WHEN DROPPING OFF
PASSENGERS
(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

TIME: 417 PM
-- OR IT WAS WHEN
WE SET THIS THING
(Jay Shuck)

ARE WE THERE YET?
ARE WE THERE YET?
ARE WE THERE YET?
(Joseph Newman, Bethesda)

YOUR WAIT TIME TILL
NEXT ACCIDENT:
APPROX 4 MINUTES
(Brian Fox, Charlottesville)

GAS THIS EXIT --
MUST BE PRE-APPROVED
FOR FINANCING
(Drew Bennett)

COULD SOMEONE
PLEASE EXPLAIN
TODAY'S ZIPPY?
(Jay Shuck)

CONSTRUCTION AHEAD
A BIG DELAY EXPECTED
MEN WRITING HAIKU
(Tiffany Getz, Manassas)

THRU TRAFFIC KEEP LEFT
HAHA! LIKE U R MOVING!
I CRACK MYSELF UP!
(Cheryl Davis, Arlington)

NO HUMMERS
PERMITTED
PLEASE BUCKLE UP
(Art Grinath)

ANY OF YOU KNOW
HOW TO TURN OFF
THE CAPS LOCK?
(Kim Herman, Centreville)


Laugh. Or....
Else.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Testing Testosterone

Testing. Hello test. 1.2.3.

I noticed last night my wife has this testing device to check glucose levels. It's called Free Style. I saw it sitting by the bathroom sink. (Well, at least it's not a pregnancy test. That'd be a bit of a shocker for about 9 reasons you don't wanna know.) Something like what diabetics use. I should probably ask her; might be good for the relationship to actually converse meaningfully, at least on alternating Wednesdays.

Anyway, it got me to thinking.

Which is typically dangerous.

And typically late at night.

Why not a little doodad like this to gauge testosterone levels?

Call it Freer Stylin'.

And it can be for both men and women. With men, it might not be all that hot a market item except as an Early Warning System (EWS) of oceanic testosterone spikes. I know there's not a heckuva lot of need for a testosterone EWS because naturally we know when things are stirring in the nether regions south of the belt buckle, or at least when we want them to stir.

They say testosterone is linked to aggressive behavior, so it might have some uses there. Might want to give it to W. and the Devil In A Suit Who Can't Handle His, Um, Shotgun before their Cabinet meetings.

And they say testosterone is the thing that gives women their sex drive too. I've heard. (Here come all those cyber-pies headed toward my face.)

You can look it up (and while you're at it The Quote Verifier will tell you about that famous quote).

An Early Warning System for testosterone in women.

I like that. Hmmmm. What would we call that one?

(Stop with the Hallmark card lovey-dovey posts already, willya.)

Play Ball?

Batter Up?

Delta Dawn?

Just Your Size?

Tropical Storm Warning?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dawn vs. Dusk

This ain't a humorous post; more under the "or else" part of the "laugh or else" slogan I've recently launched. Right now, it is dusk. Evening. Evensong. My favorite part of the day.

Then there are dawn folks. Meloncutter's one of 'em. You may be too.

Often, dusk marries dawn. Or vice versa. (Not in this marriage, but, yes, in my previous one.)

I am of the belief, perhaps supported by scientific studies, that you're one or the other. Night hawks. Or roosters. As some put it, fowl or owl. (Or something like that.) Dr. Andrew, can you shed any lambent light on this?

In the Dawn Department, I want to recommend someone, informally The Secretary of Dawns.

I do this with some hesitancy. My never-met-except-through-words friend may be irked that I'm being forward enough to shine this dawn-intrusive spotlight in this manner. Forgiveness and understanding are sought in advance.

But we're all in the blogosphere. It's out there. In the ether.

In the mystic dawn.
The beautiful mystic dawn.

As chronicled and painted by The Secretary of Dawns.

Matins. Morning song. Morning prayer.

The still small voice of nature's pulse.

Check it out.

A journey "felt along the blood," to use Wordsworth's phrase from "Tintern Abbey."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Twilight of the Bras

I hardly ever know what to blog about. As a Laughorist, I delight in wordplay, sometimes mildly amusing, sometimes not. Like others, my attention gets caught by an item found in one of the so-called mainstream news sources.

I could lie and say I was struck by this headline in today's New York Times:

'The Twilight of the Ostrich-Plumed, Rhinestone-Brassiered Las Vegas Showgirl.'

But it wasn't the headline that caught my eye. It was the photo. The august and fairly stodgy ol' Gray Lady, the NYT, displays a nearly half-page robust image depicting the headline above. (BTW, guess what shows up first on a web search of "gray lady" on Yahoo? Yep. The website for The New York Times.)

I can't say it stirred my loins all that much (pretty campy -- I merely scanned the article, what with weekend ADHD and all), but, as I say, the shot of a big-breasted glam showgirl is a bit of a nonpharmacological pick-me-up on a Sunday morning. (After church, no less, adding to the taboo thing.)

Putting aside for a sec the, um, turgidity [just looking for an excuse to use that word] of the Times's prose, is this a foreplay of things to come? Is this a ratings "sweeps" weekend for the newspaper industry?

What next for The Gray Lady (or Old Gray Lady, according to some sources):

-- A page 3 girl featuring a scantily clad babe? Well, let's not stop there. How about featuring a page 3 guy every other day, for the sake of balance?

-- Half-page front-page photos of showgirls (or other sociological subjects of interest as typically found in, um, tabloids)?

-- Racy personals?

-- Lotto and lottery results in 60-point type?

Can't think of anything else.

That's what happens when you have nothing to say and you resort to the tried-and-true T&A cliche.

(Did I tell you we have thongs and boxers that proclaim: "Just Your Size"? I'll become a millionaire if the Times ever goes for that page 3 gal/guy and he/she is wearing Laughorist regalia.)

Laugh. Or...
Else.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Limited Time Offer

"Limited Time Offer."

Ever think how absurd that bit of adspeak is? I mean (aside from the hyphen missing from the first two words), what's it mean?

You tell me: name a consumer item that is not in some way constrained by time. I know, I know, no one's gonna say, "Eternal Offer," 'cept maybe one of them clever or trying-to-clever slogans on a marquee outside a church.

This brings to mind a few others (with choice Laughorist editorial comment):

While Supplies Last (if you're thinking this somehow applies to my sex life, I have a resounding NO COMMENT)

Doctor-Approved (what kind of doctor? is it a schmuck with a doctorate in marketing humping some product? is it the brother-in-law's cousin's neighbor's niece of the owner?)

Buy Now (ah yes, appealing to impulse buyers, like me).

I know I'm missing a whole bunch that you loyal readers will chime in on. Bring 'em on.

P.S. I need a signature sign-off, something like The Meloncutter's "Take care yall" (do I have it right, MC?). Hey, it's all part of branding, hunh? I've thought of "Keep smiling" but that's revoltingly Disneyesque and doesn't account for the arch or sardonic tone that often pervades this space (plus lots of times I just ain't funny, such as yesterday, or ever, in the view of some, er, assholes). Something like "Keep breakfasting"? (or whatever that goofy Cornflake King signs off with). I'm thinking cyber-out-loud here. How about: "Grin and bare it" or "Laugh or else"? Maybe "Keep on smirkin'"? Anyway, would my personality allow such never-changing constancy and consistency?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tension Envelopes Reflux

Saw that ol' Tension Envelopes sign yesterday. It's near the end of 80, just before it becomes 95, in New Jersey. Ridgefield Park? Bogota? Too tired to Google it, having driven some 500 to 600 miles in one day yesterday, transporting the older of two daughters, en route to DC to Scotland to Berlin, all by way of shoes en pointe, despite a broken pinky toe, despite the distances of miles and the appetite of blossoming opportunity and adventure, items which made me pause on Broadway over by 96th, wondering do I wander downtown courting mischief, or do I turn onto the West Side Highway, head north, over the GWB, back into NJ, through PA, and then onward and upward? Which is what I did (the latter, that is; or The Ladder, that is, the one of a dozen steps), calling her again as I headed west on 80, telling her I was passing the Tension Envelopes sign, it looks like a working concern, thanking her for taking a digital snapshot of it on the way in, and her remarking that, well, some people work best within a tension envelope, and both of us tacitly knowing that my particular tension envelope was sealed with the air of love, apprehension, hope, relief, paternity, and surrender. A surrender worth getting down on one's knees for today, but not something I did, did I -- and only thought of today, bludgeoned by a friend's gonging reminder of what a lack of gratitude can exact in one's life.

So, 'Asan, visiting from the Brac, and I chatted it up all the way from FP, NJ to CNY, regaling each other with stories of mayhem, grief, hilarity, and heart-rending honesty. Yaaassssssss, yassss, sort of like Neal Cassady and friend -- though we now know Kerouac was more likely to take the bus, or end up home on LI with Mama, nursing his alcoholic remorse.

Never drowsy.

Too hyped up on anxiety, adrenalin, and caffeine.

Getting there just the same.

Hitting home, not the same at all.

Feeling hung over

from memory

loss

and attachment

today.

Just for today.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Inuit For The Money

You've heard that expression "She [or he] could sell ice cubes to the Eskimos." Let's pause for a second to update that ancient aphorism: "He [or she] could sell ice cubes to the Inuit."

Be forewarned, ye potential marketing targets, y'all potential ice-buying Inuit:

According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, designer ice cubes are on their way.

Yup. By October, you may be seeing "secured spring water ice cubes" at your favorite foodstuffs emporium. It says 12 cubes for about $3.99. For all I know, they're already in your store's, um, cube-icles.

We already know that people are willing to shell out two bucks a pop for allegedly pure alleged spring alleged water. (Just out of curiosity I'm wondering how much that equates to per gallon. Of water. Not gasoline. I'll leave it up to some sociologist to do his or her doctoral dissertation on the Price Per Gallon Willingness to Pay Ratio as a demographic and socioeconomic paradigm marker.) And we already know typical municipal water suppliers in the U.S. impose stricter standards than those mandated for designer water. But marketing is marketing, and people are willing to pay a premium for a beautiful name and a beautiful label with an ordinarily wonderful (or wonderfully ordinary) taste masquerading as something more, better, eloquent, classy. In a word: It. (In-You: It, if we're branding for customers way up North.)

If you're interested, these new cubes will be available (from suppliers I'd rather not hump for) as ice cube trays "containing purified municipal tap water" in plain or various flavors.

I think it's a safe bet you won't see these flavors: Oatmeal, Rusty, Dysentery, Particulate Matter, Wastewater. Maybe WASP.

Remember those old supposedly subliminal print ads in the Sunday Times Magazine, the ones where you could spot breasts "tastefully" hidden in a portion of the ice cubes in the ads for Scotch?

Now we can simply sell ready-made ice cubes already shaped into the body part of your choice.

Hold it. I gotta go. My phone's ringing off the hook. These people love my concepts.

They want to talk turkey.

Somehow, though, I don't think anyone wants ice cubes with wattles.

Maybe I should offer them in The Laughorist Store anyway.

Just for laughs, of course.

And oodles of very, very cold cash.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Father Knows Breast

You may have heard the shocking news that Babytalk magazine, "a free magazine that caters [remember "catering" as you read on] to young mothers, features a picture of a nursing baby on its latest cover. "Nursing baby" here means baby nursing on a human breast, presumably its own mother's breast. The adjectives to describe this seminal (wrong word) event, as cited in an Agence France Presse wire story today, include the following: shocked, horrified, gross, offended, uncomfortable, disgusting.

In the interest of accuracy, I must report that the article quotes the executive editor of Babytalk magazine as saying most readers gave a thumbs up (well, at least it wasn't penises up!) in a poll querying them about the cover.

One woman said she had to rip the cover off so her husband wouldn't see it. One offended mother was from Nevada, where stodgy and staid Las Vegas sits and where, if I'm not mistaken, prostitution is legal in some counties.

A mother of a four-month-old (human, I guess) is quoted as saying, "I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob."

Which makes me curious and inquisitive:

Is she sick of seeing her baby attached to her boob? Someone elses's boob? Her husband's?

If she's talking about herself, can she switch? Must she stare?

Or is their house filled with images of baby-attached boobs?

Does she have the same outrage if the baby is more or less attached to the boob tube while she files her nails and eats bonbons all day?

Is her husband just as sick and tired of this image? In other words, is he more of an ass man?

I could go on, of course.

But I'll let you nursing bloggers suck on this one to see how it nourishes you.

I haven't checked yet, but if JBWriterGirl and "The Not-So News" titular blog beat me to it, I'm sure her story tops mine. Or tops mine off.

This gives a whole new dimension to Halloween this year:

Will kids say "Trick or teat?" before mothers offer 'em a Milky Way?

For the record, I'd say the "offending" mother was a D cup.

And the child looks idyllically serene but is not winking.

Cheerios.